Ethiopia aims to create 'green culture' in fight against climate change

More than 750,000 green jobs have been created in the past four years

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Ethiopia, the second most-populous country in Africa, is trying to create a green culture to win the fight against climate change, the country’s Prime Minister has said.

At Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week on Monday, Abiy Ahmed said his country was one of the most vulnerable to climate change, but it was “doing its part” to mitigate the effects.

He said green jobs had been created across the country through different environmental initiatives.

“We are committed to living in a sustainable and climate-resilient Ethiopia for the new generation,” said Mr Abiy.

“Doing so entails taking bold action now and instilling a green culture as we go along.”

Leaving a legacy

Ethiopia’s Green Legacy initiative has helped create more than 750,000 jobs — mostly for women and young people — since 2018.

The initiative has helped plant 25 billion seedlings within four years, equal to removing 64 million petrol-powered cars from the road for one year.

The Green Legacy initiative, therefore, is our bold action, which has created national awareness on climate change and enabled the creation of green jobs and is making a positive impact on our surrounding environment,” said Mr Abiy.

“Our initiative will certainly contribute towards removing the equivalent of hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce deforestation.”

Despite Africa's vulnerability to climate change, as a region it contributes the least amount of emissions.

The State of the Climate in Africa 2021 report showed that rainfall patterns are being disrupted across the continent, glaciers are disappearing, and key lakes are shrinking.

And rising water demand, combined with limited and unpredictable supplies, could intensify conflict and displacement.

“Although we are at the mercy of high emitters, we are nevertheless committed to do our part,” said Mr Abiy.

“In this regard, Ethiopia has developed its long-term net-zero and climate-resilient 2050 strategy, which will enhance our ability to plan for decarbonisation of the economy.”

Set examples

Majid Al Suwaidi, Director General of Cop28, said during one of the opening speeches on Monday that the UAE has also set an example of how climate action can boost the national economy.

He said that Cop28 would help create more awareness of this for other countries.

“The UAE is calling on the whole world to remember that not only is the scientific case for climate action clear but so too is the economic case,” said Mr Suwaidi.

“And the UAE can testify to this from our own direct experience. We have spent the last two decades diversifying our economy and turning our nation into a powerhouse of clean energy.

“Where once the prosperity of our nation was dependent on oil and gas, today, over 70 per cent of our national GDP comes from other sectors and revenues.”

Updated: January 17, 2023, 12:13 PM